Moore, part of architectural firm that built the city, dies
Published 1:50 pm Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Esteemed architect Lee Fulton Moore, whose work includes Port Arthur City Hall, Lamar State College-Port Arthur, the Montagne Center and the redesign of the Museum of the Gulf Coast, has died.
Moore, 91, died July 28 at the Rose Place Senior living facility where he had been residing for the past four years.
Moore started his own architectural firm, which became the partnership of Moore, Stansbury and Vaught in 1960 and was known to bring a modern aesthetic to many of the buildings he designed.
Jeff Hayes, a longtime Port Arthur Realtor, had known Moore for many decades and said Moore was well thought of and respected.
“He did a lot of work for us,” Hayes said. “He was responsible for houses, office buildings, churches. They (architectural firm) did the Driftwood Motor Hotel and they did a lot of work for both Lamar State College-Port Arthur and Lamar University. “He was always hard working and pleasant and a good family man.”
Moore was born in Lexington, Ky. and attended the University of Kentucky then along came WWII. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, Air Force Division where he served as a flight radar operator. During his service he marched down the Champs-Elysees at the liberation of Paris. After his honorable discharge he earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky.
He then moved to Austin for a degree in architecture at the University of Texas and met his wife, Marjorie there and married.
Moore moved to his wife’s hometown of Port Arthur and started the architectural firm along with Jack Stansbury and Murphy Vaught.
The firm of Moore, Stansbury and Vaught put their stamp on the most prodigious structures built in Port Arthur since the 1950s, including the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center, the Port Arthur Library, the new Staff Sergeant Lucian Adams Elementary School, more than 200 churches and more.
But it was the six-block urban renewal project of downtown Port Arthur in the 1970s that was the firm’s greatest triumph. It involved extensive area planning, massive renovations and rebuilding of the Police Station, the old Port Arthur News building, the Post Office and a new Port Arthur City Hall, according to an archive story.
Stansbury died at the age of 81 in 2009 and Vaught at the age of 79 in 2010.
When Moore retired from the firm he went to work as a consultant for LSC-PA as the campus building planner and over saw a major construction expansion on the campus along with the redesign of the Museum of the Gulf Coast.
Port Arthur Historical Society President and former LSC-PA president Sam Monroe worked closely with Moore for 25 years.
“He was really significant and influential in getting the campus to what it is today,” Monroe said adding the architecture included more than just the building but lighting, landscaping and even traffic flow.
“There was so many things he was the planner for. Our job was to get the money and work with him and user groups who used the facilities. He was the designer. His contributions were enormous not only to Lamar State College-Port Arthur but he also did buildings at Lamar University, the speech and hearing building there and was one of the team that did the Montagne Center.”
Moore’s work has stood the test of time.
“He leaves such a wonderful legacy of structures very much in use today and have been for many decades,” Monroe said. “We are also most grateful for the face he worked with us in developing the Museum of the Gulf Coast in the former First National Bank Building. He took the job on. I would say ‘Lee, we don’t have a lot of money’ and he’d say ‘do you want you to poor boy this?’ yes, I said.
Moore was willing to take on that job all the way through completion, working on it in stages from 1990 to completion in 1994.
“Lee was a gentleman, a refined man,” Monroe added. “He was a man of great taste and diplomacy and respect for other people. He left a great example for others to follow.”
Monroe and Moore were close friends as well as colleagues and had a close working relationship for 25 years.
“I miss him but also delighted and pleased he was able to live such a long life,” he said.
Besides his architectural work, Moore was involved in many civic activities and was a member of the Kiwanis Club and was elected President of the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce in 1970.
He was also a member of the First Church of Christ Scientist.
Moore is survived by his only daughter, Leanne Moore, his niece, Mary Kay Place and his nephews, Ken Place, Brad Place Jr. and Bo Moore. Lee was preceded in death by his wife, Marjorie and by his only brother, John Boyer Moore, who was also an architect in Lexington, KY.
In lieu of flowers, any memorial contributions may be made to the Museum of the Gulf Coast.
A celebration of the life of Lee Moore for all family and friends will be held on Saturday, September 12 with the time and place to follow in a further announcement.